Who wouldn't want to play cowboy for the day?" said Crissy Staley of the Berrien County Chamber of Commerce.
Special needs students in Berrien and Cook counties will get to miss a day of school and enjoy participating in their own little rodeo on
"My family actually started this event years ago when I was in high school and it's something we've been able to do, continue to do in our community for 21 years with the support of our local sponsors," said Staley.
The 21st annual Exceptional Rodeo pairs special needs children with the local chapter of the FFA and 4H to use props that are designed to mimic a real rodeo.
"It's really hard to explain the excitement that these kids feel but it is very much written all over their face," said Staley.
The kids will get a sneak peak preview of what takes place behind the scenes of the Cotton Blossom Roundup. The rodeo features real bull-riders competing in the rodeo on Friday and Saturday.
Charlie Lowry is a stock contractor. He is responsible for the production and livestock of the rodeo.
"Different deals for them to ride and make it like their riding a bull or a bucking horse or roping, we have them rope and it just thrills them to do stuff like this and it thrills us to do it for them," said Lowry.
The rodeo will feature championship livestock from the 4L & Diamond S Rodeo, as well as contestants from all across the southeastern United States.
News Release: Berrien Chamber of Commerce
Nashville, Ga.— The Berrien County Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville-Berrien Rotary Club, and event title sponsor Harveys Supermarkets have partnered to bring the Fifth Annual Cotton Blossom Roundup professional rodeo back to Nashville. Professional cowboys and cowgirls will ride into town Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22 at 7:30 each night to compete in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, tie down calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling, cowgirls barrel racing, and bull riding.
“Harveys Supermarkets is excited to be a part of the Cotton Blossom Roundup again this year,” said Barry Robinson, vice president of Harveys and Reids. “The rodeo is fun for the entire family and something the Harveys Supermarket family looks forward to every year.”
The rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. It will feature championship livestock from the 4L & Diamond S Rodeo and specialty acts from Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard and Team Ghost Riders. Stock from 4L & Diamond S has had several of its bucking bulls featured at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“If you have never experienced a rodeo you are simply missing out,” said Crissy Staley, executive director, Berrien County Chamber of Commerce. “The Cotton Blossom Roundup features award winning livestock, professional cowboys and cowgirls and family friendly entertainment. Rodeo is called the greatest show on dirt, so come early and get a seat close to the action.”
The Cotton Blossom Roundup will also host special events spotlighting local talent. The Friday night performance will feature a principal challenge calf scramble. The winner of the principal calf scramble will win an ice cream party for their entire school and $250 provided by Harveys Supermarkets. Berrien Elementary School was the winning school in last year’s challenge. Saturday night’s performance will feature representatives from Berrien County Relay for Life teams scrambling to win $250.
Friday night is military appreciation night. Discounts will be given at the gate for military personnel on Friday night; military identification will be required for discount.
Advance ticket sales at participating Harveys Supermarkets will begin on March 8th (Valdosta, Lakeland, Tifton, Moultrie, Fitzgerald, Adel, Pearson, Sylvester, Ocilla, Hahira, and Nashville) and can also be purchased at the Berrien County Chamber of Commerce. Advance tickets are $9 for adults (11 years and up), $4 children (6 to 10 years old) and children five and under get in free. At the gate, adult tickets will be $10 and children $5. The Cotton Blossom Roundup is held at the Berrien County Saddle Club on County Farm Road. Gates open at 6 pm, so come early and take a ride on the mechanical bull or enjoy other pre-rodeo activities.
Rodeo t-shirts both adult and youth sizes are available at the Chamber for $15. Proceeds from the Cotton Blossom Roundup benefit the Nashville-Berrien Rotary Club and Berrien County Chamber of Commerce. For more information on the upcoming rodeo, please call the Chamber of Commerce at 686-5123.